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Poster: paulypecker Date: Nov 15, 2008 8:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Taper Section Inquiry

Don' know how this all worked. Wasn't it made available around '84 or '85? How did one get a spot and did they have an assigned area for each particular show. Once you became a taper were you allowed to tape at every show attended? How many tapers were in the section or did it vary from venue to venue? In general what makes for a solid recording? What advances were made over the years in either the technology or other aspects in this area? A lot to ask but I bet someone will be willing to share some info/experiences. Thanks for your time.

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Nov 15, 2008 9:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Taper Section Inquiry

the taper's section was created by the band (fall 84 or spring 85?) in response to the escalating hassles between the tapers with their mic stands and the rowdy audience members screaming and bumping into them, both factions in resistance to each other, trying to co-occupy the MOTB area (floor between center stage and sbd)

the band decided that the shows were primarily about live music, not recording...subsequently the archivists were banned from the "party" area...also, the sound and lighting crews complained that the stage was becoming more and more difficult to see from the board through the "sea of microphone stands"

the section was usually a roped off area directly behind the sbd designated for taper's and their crew only, usually on a "general admission, first come" basis, although at least one show i can remember (7/2/85) a taper needed to mail order a special ticket in advance with a caricature of Richard Nixon ("the original taper") stamped on it to get into the section...usually they also allowed tapers to set up in the half empty bleachers behind this section or anywhere else where they didn't interfere with the "quiet enjoyment" of other patrons

the cats i knew that taped from the section behind the sbd found that the mic signals were considerably weaker than the MOTB area, but with a lot less crowd chatter and associated shenanigans

This post was modified by midnight sun on 2008-11-16 05:30:20

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Poster: paulypecker Date: Nov 15, 2008 9:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Taper Section Inquiry

Thanks. That's so funny about the Nixon "pass" to get a spot at the show in '85. Was there mutual respect between tapers and were there any,pardon the pun,"unspoken" rules like no talking? Was it common for help to be offered to others with any problems that arose while recording? Were DATs used at some point and were they preferable over cassettes for quality or timing considerations? If you're not sure don't,pardon another lame pun,fret.

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Poster: Scrim Date: Nov 17, 2008 1:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Taper Section Inquiry

For assigned seating, taper tickets were available through the Grateful Dead mail order service. All you had to do was ask for them, no extra fee or anything like that, and they had "Tapers Section" printed on them to help you get through the front door with your gear. Although the front door people usually didn't have a clue and would turn you around.

At general admission shows, anybody who wanted to tape was alowed in, and we all gathered behind the soundboard in the "tapers section." I would say that at the largest shows, there were 100 mic stands or less. The soundboard was huge and at least 20 feet high, so it would block the direct signal from the PA, kinda sucked. Some folks had huge tripod stands to "see over" the board, others did a wide 30' right-left spread with a single stand/mic on each side of the board to capture a direct view of the PA stack.

Nakamichi condenser mics dominated the scene, and Sennheiser condenser mics were the favorite, and senn. dynamic mics were everywhere else. Sony D5 tapedecks were everywhere, and D6 decs were popular too. Nak. 550 decks were also around, but less popular. I stopped taping in 1992, but DAT decks were all over the scene then too.

I wish I had gone up front (MOTB) at shows with my stuff, but to tell the truth the thought never crossed my mind.

The thing with taping, was that you never saw the show. It was nice to swap out with friends to watch the tapes so you could get get out from behind the board and see some action.

At general admission shows, the tapers on the outside of the section tried to stear people away who would try to cut through. A newbie would see the tapers section as an excellent shortcut to the other side of the field! They would come through all buzzed up and start grabbing mic stands to hold themselves up. Bad scene for the people taping, but I think we were all restrained from causing too much of a scene because it would have been captured on tape. People would courtously get escorted through or out by someone protecting the sanctity of the recordings.

It was fun to do, but it was also a lot of work. Hats off to the tapers, thank you for capturing the moment!